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Schumer: Supercommittee will fail

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday predicted the supercommittee will fail to reach a deficit deal.

Schumer also said it would be the GOP’s fault for insisting that no tax hikes be included with measures to cut spending and entitlements.

“I don't think ... the supercommittee is going to succeed because our Republican colleagues have said no net revenues,” Schumer, who handles messaging for Senate Democrats, said Monday on MSNBC. “The American people are beginning to sniff this. They're beginning to sniff that the other side has dug in and is not compromising."

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The supercommittee faces a Nov. 23 deadline to reach an agreement to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Few details about the talks have leaked out, but there have been no public signs that the 12 lawmakers are getting closer to a deal.

Schumer's comments are noteworthy given his position as a Senate Democratic leader and the caucus's messaging guru. His comments may be an early effort at spinning blame if the supercommittee fails. 

Schumer's comments drew a critical response from a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who knocked Schumer for his "ideological addiction" to raising taxes. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Republicans were working to find an agreement.


"So, while we oppose tax hikes (because tax hikes destroy jobs — as even President Obama has acknowledged), Republicans, including Speaker Boehner, have been clear that they are not opposed to increased revenue as a result of tax reforms that lead to economic growth," Steel wrote in an email sent to reporters.

The comments from Schumer and reaction from Boehner's office highlight the tensions surrounding the supercommittee's work as it nears its deadline. 

Democrats have sought to portray themselves as more interested in a compromise than Republicans, and Schumer on Monday said his party was willing to move to the middle by supporting proposals to slow down the growth of entitlement programs.

Republicans have been wary about being cornered on this argument, and Steel pointed out that Boehner on Sunday said he was open to restructuring the tax code in a way that would grow revenue for the government. 

"I believe that if we restructure our tax code, where on the corporate side and the personal side, the target would be a top rate of 25 percent, it would make our economy more competitive with the rest of the world," Boehner said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"We'd have a broader base on the tax rules. And out of that, there would be real economic growth and more revenues for the federal government.”

The supercommittee is running out of time to reach a deal, though Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), one of the 12 supercommittee members, separately on MSNBC said he did not think an extension would help the panel. 

"I don't think we should be asking for an extension," Van Hollen said. "More time won't get us there unless we're really, really close, but no, we're not asking for an extension."

The supercommittee's failure would trigger hundreds of billions in cuts to national security programs, a prospect members in both parties loath. It would also trigger cuts to nondefense spending. 

—This story was posted at 9:05 a.m. and updated at 12:15 p.m.